Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (230 mails)

< Previous Next >
Re: [opensuse-project] openSUSE 2016: taking a picture of openSUSE today

On Nov 26, 2013, at 12:38 PM, agustin benito bethencourt <abebe@xxxxxxxx> wrote:


Once openSUSE 13.1 has been released, it is time for the openSUSE Team to
focus on the future. We want to share some ideas we have about the project in
general and factory in particular. The topic is not easy. so this mail is a
little long and dense, but hopefully worth it. It won't be the last one so
me know how to improve it.


This is the first of a series of mails we will publish the following days
different ideas. The process we are proposing has no intention of pointing at
anybody, revisiting the past or enforce any situation within the community.
Our goals are:

* Share a picture as a starting point of discussion.
* Use the discussed picture as a reference to agree on actions we all
to execute.


One of the first things we did was digging into numbers that provided us
information about the status of the project. Data cannot be the only source
create a complete picture, but it is helpful as first step.

In order to better understand the rest of the mail, you probably want to look
the following references:

* Alberto Planas talk at oSC13: openSUSE in Numbers[1]
* Alberto Planas' slides from the above talk[2]
* First openSUSE Team blog post: Numbers in openSUSE[3]
* Second openSUSE Team blog post: More on statistics[4]
* Jos post about numbers[5]

One important note about the numbers: since most of the behaviors of the
variables reflected on the graphs were consolidated, at some point we
decided to stop adding effort in collecting numbers until 13.1 was released.
Once the Release is well established, we will update them and evaluate the
influence of this Release in the global picture.

I won't try to go very deep in the analysis. It would be too long. There are
many interpretations that can be done based on the graphs. I will just
point out the most relevant for our purpose. Feel free to add others.

Following Alberto Planas' order from his slides[2]...

1.- Downloads

The number of downloads do not measure our user base, but provide hints about
the impact of the work done every 8 months, the potential new users we might
bring to the project and, looking at pre-release downloads, the number of

Taking a look at the graphs, we can see that the overall number of downloads
is growing at a slow path (slope). This behavior is not consistent in every
release. For instance, 12.1 was more downloaded that 12.2 or 12.3. More and
more people uses zypper for updating the distribution though.

2.- UUIDs (installations that update regularly)

* Looking at the number of machines that regularly update against openSUSE
repositories (daily, weekly and monthly), we can easily conclude that the
situation is very stable. The speed of growth (daily and weekly stats) or
decline (monthly) is low.

* What the graph do not show is the acceleration. It has been negative (small
in value) for quiet some time now.

* When looking at the architectures, we see that x86_64 is more popular than
i586. This behavior is accelerating, as confirmed in the download numbers
collected for 12.3

* When looking at the mediums where those installations come from, we clearly
see three dominant ones: .iso (dvd version), ftp (net installs) and Live CD.

* There is a relevant detail that Alberto mentioned in his talk. More than
half, almost 2/3, of openSUSE installations are not using the last version
many weeks after Release date. There is also a significant amount of
installations using unmaintained or Evergreen versions.

3.- Factory and Tumbleweed installations/"users"

Factory is our ongoing development effort. As you can see in the graph, the
number of Factory installations is constant. Tumbleweed was very successful
when it came out. Many developers and bleeding edge users liked it. Its
popularity is decreasing though.

4.- Contributors to factory and devel projects

The numbers of users that are submitting request to factory/devel projects is
increasing. Now we have more non SUSE contributors. SUSE ones remain
The overall growth is about 27 new contributors per year, a little bit more
than 2 new contributors per month.

5.- Social media and comparison with Fedora

openSUSE is, in the social media channels evaluated, in the range of Fedora.
Comparing our numbers, I guess we all agree with this general trend that
states that openSUSE is a more user oriented distribution than Fedora is. We
have less downloads but more users (installations updating regularly).


All the above pieces shows a stable picture. Every sign of growth or decline
is, in absolute and/or relative numbers, small except social media, due to
their explosion as communication channels (which I do not think is way
different from what other Free Software communities are experiencing).


openSUSE coexist with other "coopetitors" (Free Software competitors +
cooperators) and competitors (closed sources distributions).
Touchscreens, cloud, big data, games...the Linux ecosystem is evolving and
there are new users with new needs.

New players are consolidating their positions: Arch, Chakra, Mint... Ubuntu
moving to the mobile space, Debian is getting some attention back from
previous Ubuntu users....

On the other hand, some distros that were relevant in the past have
disappeared, our 13.1 has got more attention than previous ones, SUSE is
healthy and willing to invest more in openSUSE in the future ...

In the above context, how is our "stable" situation perceived? How
do we think it should be perceived?


If we agree that the overall number of users of Linux based server +
"traditional" desktop OS (let's remove the mobile/embedded space and
cloud for now), is growing, not following the "market" growing trend might be
perceived as a wake up call, a clear sign that improvements needs to be done.

But if we agree that we are playing in a risky and challenging field,
can be perceived as a healthy sign.

After these months of analysis and discussions with both, contributors and
users, I would like to ask you if you agree with the the idea that the first
picture is more prominent than the second one. But, does the second one
provide us a good platform to improve our current position?


Let me propose you some questions:

1.- What other variables we should put in place to create an accurate picture
of the current state of the project?

Maybe take a look at simple stats that our ambassadors can gather.

2.- What is the perception you think others have from the project?

I believe many would think that openSUSE is a mature project with a great
community. A distro that has its own administration tools and has the backing
from SUSE. I think people also don’t really know where the software is headed
or where it can excel. While we are a Linux distribution, I believe in many
instances we are not clearly differentiated from other distros. This is not
necessarily a bad thing, rather we are on par with other projects as far as
experience and strength.

3.- What is your perception, your picture?

I believe openSUSE is a wonderful project filled with passionate people. My
picture however is one that obscures itself with the passage of time. I think
we have a smaller community now than what we had when I first joined. While
numbers don’t always mean less quality, I believe that at least, we need to
capture potential contribution and harness innovation.

To get some context you might want to take a look at the following contents:

* Current strategy[6]
* Ralf Flaxa keynote at oSC'13[7]
* Jos article: Strategy and Stable[8]
* Jos article: Strategy and Factory[9]


Please point us to other relevant references:

[1] Alberto Planas talk at oSC13: openSUSE in Numbers:
[2] Alberto Planas' slides from the above talk:
[3] First openSUSE at SUSE team blog post: Numbers in openSUSE
[4] Second openSUSE at SUSE team blog post: More on statistics
[5] Jos article about numbers:
[6] Current strategy:
[7] Ralf Flaxa keynote at oSC'13:
[8] Jos article: Strategy and Factory:
[9] Jos article: Strategy and Stable:

Agustin Benito Bethencourt
openSUSE Team Lead at SUSE
To unsubscribe, e-mail: opensuse-project+unsubscribe@xxxxxxxxxxxx
To contact the owner, email: opensuse-project+owner@xxxxxxxxxxxx

Andy (anditosan)

To unsubscribe, e-mail: opensuse-project+unsubscribe@xxxxxxxxxxxx
To contact the owner, email: opensuse-project+owner@xxxxxxxxxxxx

< Previous Next >